Hiking Tips and Wilderness Consideration
In this hiking Park, our authority, committee, and staff always cherish and value nature and land. We hope that visitors to the Park will respect our efforts to preserve the Park and join hands in protecting the green habitat in the Park.
Carry-In and Carry-out
Before visiting Baxter State Park, you should keep in mind that this is a carry-in carry-out Park. What does that mean?
In general, when you come to the Park, you have to bring your necessary things such as food, clothing, and even disposable diapers. It is carrying in. Then, after consuming these things, you have to carry them out when you leave the Park.
If you do not have plastic wrappings, you can ask the staff in the campgrounds of the Park for litterbags.
Hiking with your friends or family is truly a wonderful experience. At Baxter State Park, you are allowed to climb in groups. However, the number of group members will be limited to a maximum of 12 individuals.
This regulation has taken effects from the summer of 2013. Accordingly, individuals who hike on the same trail less than one mile apart will be considered the same group.
The leaders of hiking groups in Baxter State Park have to be adults. Also, the adult-to-adolescent ratio in a group must be 1:5.
If your group violates any of the above rules, the Park managers and staff might ask your group to stop the journey immediately. More seriously, you might even have to attempt a summons.
Last but not least, you should ensure that your group’s activities are appropriate for the Park. Since almost all visitors in our Park prefer calm and isolation, you should keep the sound at an acceptable level.
In case you want to take a photo of wildlife in the Park, be sure that you have a suitable distance from these animals.
There are beneficial photography guidelines for you, such as regarding the standard requirements of creatures, gaining proficiency with the examples of creature conduct, not moving near natural life.
Sometimes, taking pictures might interrupt species on crucial occasions (for example, egg brooding, birthing). Thus, it would help if you did not get the forested areas to seek after creatures.
Instead, staff and rangers will show you when and where is the best place to see the wildlife in the Park.
Remember that you are not allowed to feed any creatures in Baxter State Park. It is one of the essential regulations in our Park to protect our animals.
There is no running water in Baxter State Park, and all water sources are genuinely wild and untreated. Thus, you have to bring at least 2 quarts of drinking water for your own needs when hiking or climbing.
If you prefer to use the water sources in the Park, you will need specific treatments such as filtering and boiling to ensure the quality and cleanness of water. You might see some trailside springs on the offered maps. However, these are not reliable.
Whether you plan to visit the Park for a day or a week, one of the indispensable items is a flashlight. You should finish your adventure in daylight for the best safety and convenience.
Moreover, carrying a flashlight is a rule in the Park. This item is essential to protect yourself as well as others’ security.
Extra Food and Clothing
Hiking is an activity that consumes a lot of energy and calories. Therefore, along with bringing enough2 liters for a person, you should also prepare extra food such as snacks, candies (to avoid hypotension), dried fruit, and nuts.
Besides, since evening temperatures could be much lower than in the morning, it will be best to bring some warm clothes.
The trail system in our Park is quite challenging and rough. Thus, if you wear a pair of tennis shoes, they may hurt your feet after a long time of hiking.
For the best hiking experience, we highly recommend you to wear specific shoes for hiking and climbing.
One of the most common problems that hikers will face when hiking or climbing for long days is the blister.
As such, you should ensure that your bag has enough necessary first aid kit. Some items such as bandaids, moleskin, and ace bandages are essential.
Map/ Guide Book
Whether you plan for short day hiking or long day hiking, make sure that you have a reliable map. You could easily purchase a map or a guidebook in some locations such as the roadside of Park’s campgrounds, the Park Visitor Center at Togue Pond.
In the Park, you could choose numerous trails to hike. Thus, if you do not know your route clearly, it is necessary to recheck the map. Also, if you need to avoid bad weather or other impediments, ensure that you have an alternative.
It will help if you keep in mind that the cell service is unavailable in most Park areas. Thus, you have to carry your cell phone for emergent communication.
For the best hiking experience, you should carry other needed items such as a compass (for navigation), matches (for fire or light), whistle (to signal in emergencies).
Setting the Primary Goal
When hiking, what will be your first goal? Conquering the mountain peaks or challenges of speed or endurance could give you a sense of excitement. However, they should not be the biggest targets for your hiking journey.
If you only focus on these above objectives, you might get lost or go too far from the head trails. It will be extremely dangerous, especially at night.
Before your hikes, you need to know that to get back to your vehicle or trailhead before the day’s over has to be your primary goal.
When you decide to leave the trailhead, you have to take responsibility for yourself. If not necessary, then we recommend you to stay on the trail.
Staying on the trail is the simplest way to protect yourself and our fragile flora in the snow-capped zone over the treeline.
Many people have been injured, and 19 individuals have died in Katahdin alone since 1963. The leading cause of these unfortunate cases was that people left the trails.
Thus, before your hikes, make sure that you have learned about the region’s weather, terrains and prepared enough essentials.
Moreover, you should know that you are responsible for your hiking plans. If you have any emergence plans, you should tell them to someone you trust. Also, sharing your locations with your friends, for example, will be helpful in some ways.
If you start with a group, hike with them and not separate from walking alone since it is hazardous.
On each hike, you need to sign in and sign out at trailhead registers. Also, you should know the right time to stop and return to the trails. For example, if you see the weather is starting to worsen or the darkness is coming, you should go back.
Carrying your cell phone is essential, but you need to turn it off when hiking. It would be best if you only turned on the phone in emergencies. It is the best way to save the phone battery.
If you are standing in a place where you could hear thunder clearly, you should move down immediately since you are close enough to be struck by lightning.
In case you are above the treeline, you should move to the lowest point as quickly as possible. This place should be dry and free of any metal objects.
Then, it would be best if you sat down with your feet close together. In other words, you should make yourself become the smallest object with minimal contact with the ground. You should not lie down in any situations!
If you are below the treeline, move to firm buildings or inside a car with the windows moved up. Also, you should go out on boats and go to a dry place. In the forested areas, with no different alternatives, take cover under the more limited trees.
Is Nature Calling?
There are about 35.000 visitors who come to the Katahdin peak, which has numerous valuable and rare inhabitants each year. Human waste could contaminate the wild habitats and water sources in the high zone.
Moreover, it could also expand the spread of sickness through humans and other species in the Park and directly affect your hiking experience. Each of us should adopt new practices that will protect these areas from further damage.
Before starting your hike, if it’s not too much trouble, you can use restrooms on the way leading to the Park.
In case you need to pee, but there are no available toilets, please keep away from plants. Instead, you could pick shakes or rock to limit plant and soil harm from untamed life defoliating plants and burrowing for human salts.
Remember that you should store just human waste and tissue in the pit or vault latrines.
Also, do not leave individual cleanliness items, expendable diapers, and extra food items since they could meddle with treating the soil cycle and stop up the siphons used to purge the vaults. They likewise present non-degradable material and fill latrines rapidly.
If you need, our staff and rangers could give you litter packs for carrying out.
Nature Calling below Treeline
If you have to answer the nature call below the treeline and do not see any outhouse, leave the trail at any rate 200 feet or the furthest extent that you can away from the water source near you.
It would be best to utilize a scoop or our heel to burrow a cathole around 6 inches deep so the dirt will assist with decay. When you finish, cover and camouflage the opening with regular materials.
Also, you should complete your tissue in a ziplock pack. In case you are not readied, you could cover it somewhere down strapped or use leaves to shut the hole tightly.
Nature Calling above Treeline
In case you are above the treeline and nature calls you, please do not dig any cathole since this activity could hurt the rare vegetations and soils on the high zone.
The best way to handle it is to jump off-trail around 200 feet or quite far from any water source and go on top of the rock or uncovered ground so that the climate could disintegrate the human waste. Please store your tissue in a ziplock pack.